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The minimum wage is not a living wage. Nor should it be.

Our country's recent obsession with creating "liveable wages," while well-intended, will wind up creating no wages for many people.

That's because many businesses will cut positions rather than pay wages around $15 an hour. Minimum-wage jobs that still exist will be more competitive and wind up going to those with more skill.

"Higher minimum wage jobs actually eliminate jobs that are intended for people entering the workforce with minimal work skills," said state Rep. Cody Smith, R-Carthage. She said that in a recent legislative debate on the issue, according to Missouri News Network, a branch of the Missouri School of Journalism.

Another problem higher minimum wages create is "wage compression," which is when employees with little experience or skill are making nearly as much as those with much more experience and skill.

Minimum wages never were intended to support families. Fast food jobs and the like are opportunities for teenagers — new to the workforce and generally without skills — to make a little spending money.

It's because of the reasons we've outlined here that lawmakers have proposed to slow a voter-approved minimum wage increase plan just three years after being implemented.

But as much as we disagree with voters' approval of Proposition B in 2018, we have to respect their wishes. They approved increasing the minimum wage by about 85 cents each year until it reaches $12 an hour in 2023. Currently, Missouri's minimum wage is $10.30 an hour.

And so should the Missouri Legislature. Lawmakers previously have overturned voters' wishes, which disrespects their wishes and the process.

So, unless there are circumstances beyond what we see here, lawmakers should respect the will of voters.

News Tribune

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